In late June, weary of another long year behind a desk, I headed toward Ring Lake Ranch, an ecumenical retreat and study center in northwest Wyoming. A week in the high desert country of the Wind River Range, with time for silence and solitude, sounded just about right. I’d heard that Quakers have as many words for silence as Eskimos do for snow, and that they speak of various “stillnesses” as silky, heavy, light, dead, electric, even noisy. For months I’d needed desperately to explore something of that wide spectrum of quietude.
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